This Known Unknown

Remnants of something previously known
Or was it?
A post-apocalyptic expression
Now covering a familiar scene
Windows scream, “LOOK!”
At empty sidewalks… or nearly
A lone explorer traveling at dusk
In search of what?
What solace will you find in this barren place?
Beware the wolves that lurk
No longer safe he dives into a canyon
Heart racing, out of breath, the tears fall
Like tiny streams of pain feeding an empty desert
That agony returns, chest pounding
Cracked open like a ripe pomegranate
Exposed and raw
Beautiful and dangerous
The seeds bleed
And stain the surface they’ve fallen on
How to mend this broken body
How to replace what’s lost
Self inflected
With polished replies
And sharpened fear
And was this real?
Is it desolation
This main street
Or merely a moment in time
The sun emerges again
And life… as it is… attempts to move
But masked in worry
Fails to step forth
Seeds had been planted
But no shoots have sprung up
Even as summer approaches
Spring… Aye
That is the missing piece
He picks up his hat which had blown off his head
And re-entering remembers what he was seeking
Yet still unsure where he will find it
He continues into this known unknown

Change Is Here

I have been attending an annual conference for religious this week. The conference was scheduled to be in Cincinnati, but was moved online to Zoom, like so many other things these days. Our key note speaker was the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Michael Curry. He and his staff meet virtually with the leaders of the associations organizing the conference and had a discussion about religious life and the current state of the Episcopal church which was shared with the conference attendees Thursday morning.

If you haven’t seen or heard Michael Curry– you should look him up on YouTube (go ahead, I’ll wait). He’s a very charismatic speaker, perhaps more globally known for the homily he delivered at the royal wedding of HRH Prince Harry. This conversation for the conference was another example of his energizing and stirring elocutionary skills.

While I watched this conversation unfold I was struck by the fearlessness with which Bishop Curry approaches his role as the “head” of the Episcopal Church USA. He views his position as an kind of ambassador– a true evangelist, sharing Jesus’ love with the world and speaking from the perspective of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. He is brimming over with joy! He doesn’t fear parochial reports and the numbers declining in churches. While he acknowledges there are things we can learn from that, he stated unequivocally, “the Church has changed, the Church is changing, the Church will change.” Our job is to step right into the midst of that change, take the hand of of God, and walk on boldly into the Churches next chapter together. It was exhilarating. He said that “he believes that a Church where the people really are praying and living in that Living relationship with God … who we know in Jesus, that kind of Church is a movement that Pilot could’t stop in the first century and the coronavirus will not stop in the 21st, no matter how secular a society may be.”

Personally I have seen this Church do things in one month that I hadn’t thought were possible. Churches with no staff, few parishioners, scarce resources pulling together virtual worship experience all over the world. Small groups of morning prayer, bible studies, pastoral messages, group fellowship, forming seemingly out of thin air! Now believe me, I know full well how much work it takes to organize and produce this type of content– and it was almost comical how clumsy some of the roll out was for some communities, with poor lighting, out of focus cameras, inaudible voices, but it’s come together in miraculous ways, and brothers and sisters– people are being CHANGED! A few weeks ago, many churches didn’t even know how they would pull of Holy Week. Yet, I would dare say that more people attended Easter services at Episcopal churches this year than in recent memory.

What better example of the power of resurrection than this!? The disciples and followers, in their distress and dismay, couldn’t have imagined what was waiting them, and Jesus showed them that the power of God’s love has no holds, that death and disease cannot stop the miracle of resurrection! and they were forever CHANGED.

Even while I weep for those who are suffering and those who have died in this chaotic time, I will REJOICE. For I know that God’s love is more powerful still, and the change we have felt is but a foretaste of the glorious and hope-filled change that is to come.

Be safe and be well.